At the end of season five of Burn Notice (USA Network, Thursdays, 9/8C), things changed for Michael Westen when his long-time love and one-woman arsenal, Fiona Glennane, surrendered to the CIA. Tonight’s sixth season premiere picks up right where the fifth season finale left off.
Scorched Earth is as good a description of Westen’s (Jeffrey Donovan) state of mind as it an episode title for the sixth season premiere of Burn Notice. With Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) in FBI custody – and being questioned by an old ‘friend,’ FBI Agent Jason Bly (Alex Carter), it’s all Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell) can do to keep to keep him from imploding in frustration and exasperation.
With Fiona in FBI custody, though, the last hold that psychotic genius psychiatrist Anson Fullerton (Jere Burns) had over Westen is gone – and Westen is out to get him, with or without help.
Step One: convince Westen’s CIA handler, Agent Pearce (Lauren Stamile), that Anson is more than just the Company’s shrink; Step Two: find Anson; Step Three: kill him. Hard could it be, right?
The problem that, although Michael, Sam and Fiona have pretty much dismantled Anson’s attempt to rebuild his organization, he still has some hefty resources (spelled M-O-N-E-Y) – and a flair for aw shucks villainy that makes him the most formidable foe that Michael has ever faced. And he is prepared to do anything to stay alive – including threaten Michael’s mom, Madeline (multiple Emmy nominee Sharon Gless). Which, of course, flays Michael’s last remaining nerves…
After a pretty thorough ‘previously on…’ sequence, Scorched Earth explodes out of the gate and doesn’t stop ‘til the closing credits. Series creator Matt Nix has raised the stakes and we know from the get-go that Anson will do anything to keep Michael off his back (beware the cornered rat!).
In season five, Burn Notice somehow stepped up its game – no small feat considering it’s one of the best shows USA Network (a network with a reputation for great summer fare) has ever run. Now, with Michael free to pursue Anson – and both men having tremendous smarts, skills and tenacity – Scorched Earth serves notice that the show may well have reached yet another level of excellence.
In the premiere alone, we get the usual Burn Notice with, humor and action – fists, guns, car chases and stuff getting blowed up real good – but to that mix we get impressive character beats: Fiona duelling with Bly; Jesse (Coby Bell) working on Agent Pearce; Maddy showing she’s about as helpless as Michael, and more of Anson’s wiliness.
Scorched Earth is a fast paced, tension filled hour that is definitely one of the show’s best – and it bodes very well for season six.
Final Grade: A
Photos by Glenn Watson/Courtesy of USA Network